LOCK HAVEN – Dr. Michael Fiorentino, Jr., who has served as president of Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania since July 2011, announced his intent to retire on March 16, 2018.
Fiorentino made the announcement in a message to the campus community. “It is with many mixed emotions that Pam and I announce that we will be retiring from Lock Haven University in March, 2018,” he wrote. “It is time for us to shift our focus to spending more time with cherished friends and family and to enjoy the time for new adventures that retirement provides.”
Dr. Fiorentino said he has “truly appreciated all this region has to offer and will always consider Lock Haven home.” He said he is looking forward to beginning the new academic year—his last at the university—later this month.
“Over the next seven months I pledge to work each day to continue to move our university forward, developing new advocates and continuing our focus on enrolling students who will be successful,” he said.
Lock Haven University Council of Trustees Chair George Durrwachter said he received Dr. Fiorentino’s retirement announcement with, “mixed feelings and emotions.”
“He has led us through some challenging times and is leaving us on a solid foundation that will serve the university well into the future,” Dr. Durrwachter said. “We all wish Dr. Fiorentino and his wife, Pam, good health and many great years of retirement. It has been a pleasure working with Dr. Fiorentino and his staff, who together have always focused on what was in the best interests of students.”
Dr. Durrwachter cited the completion of several major campus projects during Dr. Fiorentino’s tenure as president, which he said transformed the university. Those projects included the construction of the university’s new science center, which houses the biology, chemistry, physics, geology and nanotechnology departments, and a 686-bed, suite-style residence hall; the renovation of both Ulmer Hall and Parsons Union Building; and the development of the University Commons, which included the construction of an amphitheater, considerable green spaces and pavilions in the center of campus.
Despite facing many of the same challenges as other State System universities, Lock Haven has excelled under Dr. Fiorentino’s leadership. It consistently receives among the highest scores on the System’s performance funding measures and ranks near the top of the schools for overall financial well-being and efficient energy use.
The university’s success has been a team effort, Dr. Fiorentino said. “While I relied on my 40 years of experience in education to begin my tenure as president, I was impressed by the way the university community came together to work to make our campus stronger, to develop new programming, and institute change where needed,” he said. “We maintained a sound fiscal footing despite an historic decline in state appropriations and enrollments and significant increases in healthcare and retirement costs.
“All of this took courage and perseverance from everyone, and I am happy to say that we have succeeded in shaping Lock Haven University as an institute of higher education that genuinely serves the needs of our students and the Commonwealth for the future.”
Under Dr. Fiorentino’s leadership, the university established three colleges, creating a structure that better aligns with departmental needs, helping them to address rising expectations and accountability for assessment, student success, faculty evaluation and effectiveness, curriculum development responsive to workforce data, compliance and accreditation.
The university also developed an academic plan that resulted in the creation and implementation of a new general education curriculum that met university goals and student needs and in the establishment of a program review process to recommend the development of new programs to meet the needs of the region and the Commonwealth, the expansion of existing programs and the elimination of low-enrolled, non-viable programs.
Lock Haven introduced several new academic programs during Dr. Fiorentino’s tenure, including in the areas of environmental studies, athletic training, actuarial studies, clinical mental health counseling, and health care management.
“Dr. Fiorentino has been a forward-thinking leader, taking on all of the challenges confronting the university and making the decisions necessary to ensure the needs of both students and their future employers are being met,” said State System Chancellor Frank T. Brogan. “There is no question he will leave a university better positioned for the future, and one that is focused on students and their success.”
A national search for a successor to Dr. Fiorentino will be announced at a later date.